It was a good day to be an incumbent on Tuesday.
In three heated Stanislaus County races, incumbents came out on top this Election Day.
With 100 percent of Stanislaus County precincts reporting, District Attorney Birgit Fladager, Sheriff-Coroner Adam Christianson, and Assessor Don Gaekle all look to retain their seats by large margins in unofficial results released Tuesday evening.
The final tallies could be changed slightly by thousands of uncounted, last-minute vote-by-mail ballots. But given the sheer scale of the incumbents’ lead, it is highly unlikely any results will change at this point.
Fladager bested challenger Frank Carson, a Modesto defense attorney, by more than a 2:1 margin. The race was bitter from the start with Carson hurling allegations and former Modesto Mayor Carmen Sabatino, formerly prosecuted by Fladager, bankrolling a “Recall Fladager” campaign. Fladager was not being recalled.
“Thanks everybody for your support throughout this campaign,” Fladager posted to her Facebook page. “I look forward to serving you these next four years.”
Christianson retained his seat in a 66-34 election despite a tough, grassroots challenge from Deputy Tom Letras. Letras, who said the Sheriff’s Department was wasting money, raised just a quarter of what Christianson did. Christianson defended his leadership as thrifty during a tough economic time, a message that resonated with voters.
“My thanks to the people of Stanislaus County for having the faith and confidence in our team,” Christianson Tweeted.
Amy Bublak, Turlock City Councilwoman and Modesto Police Officer, lost her bid to unseat appointed incumbent Gaekle by roughly 9,000 votes. Gaekle campaigned on his years of experience in the assessor’s office, while Bublak touted her leadership capabilities that she said could turn the office around.
In a primary election for California’s 10th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham and Turlock farmer Michael Eggman will move on to the November ballot. Both defeated Mike Barkley, a Manteca accountant, though Eggman took exception to some campaign tricks played by Denham. The Congressman sent out a mailer to Democrats which misrepresented Barkley as Denham’s top Democratic competitor, apparently in hopes of preventing Eggman from moving on.
"Jeff Denham's transparent political games used to try and block us from advancing to the General Election have failed,” Eggman said. “Change is coming to the Central Valley. I am confident that in November voters will choose our positive vision for moving the Valley forward over Denham’s defense of a broken Washington system. I am honored by this opportunity and I look forward to a spirited debate in the months to come."
In other primaries, Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) will move to the November ballot, where she will face Harinder Grewal (D-Keyes), a Stanislaus County agricultural inspector who also serves on the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees. And State Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte) will face businesswoman Paulina Miranda (D-Fresno) in a race for a new, massive State Senate District which will include Turlock. Both of those campaigns were decided before Election Day; only two candidates ran for each seat.
In local races, Tom Chagnon ran unopposed and will retain his seat as the County Superintendent of Schools. Treasurer-Tax Collector Gordon B. Ford also ran unopposed, as did Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder Lee Lundrigan and Stanislaus County Auditor-Controller Lauren Klein. Nine Stanislaus County Superior Court judges will also retain their judgeships for lack of opposition.
Stanislaus County Assessor
Don Gaekle 20,397 votes 63.29 percent
Amy Bublak 11,727 votes 36.39 percent
Stanislaus County District Attorney
Birgit Fladager 23,113 votes 70.07 percent
Frank Carson 9,764 votes 29.60 percent
Stanislaus County Sheriff-Coroner
Adam Christianson 22,136 votes 65.70 percent
Tom Letras 11,486 votes 34.09 percent
U.S. Rep., California 10th District Primary
Jeff Denham (R) 25,023 votes 56.9 percent
Michael Eggman (D) 11,827 votes 26.9 percent
Mike Barkley (D) 7,148 votes 16.2 percent
State Assembly, 12th District Primary
Kristin Olsen (R) 21,691 votes 64.9 percent
Harinder Grewal (D) 11,720 votes 35.1 percent
State Senate, 8th District Primary
Tom Berryhill (R) 67,195 votes 64.3 percent
Paulina Miranda (D) 37,308 votes 35.7 percent
Proposition 41, Veterans Housing and Homeless Bond Act of 2014
Yes 1,543,536 votes 65.5 percent
No 811,577 votes 34.5 percent
Proposition 42, Public Records, Open Meetings, Reimbursements
Yes 1,378,705 votes 60.7 percent
No 892,389 votes 39.3 percent
Results current as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.